The Scion xD is known in Europe as the “Urban Cruiser,” and with an AWD option it’s sold as a quasi-SUV. According to a Euro NCAP crash test of comact cars though, the Urban Cruiser offers a lot less safety than you might expect in an SUV. NCAP’s latest round of compact testing saw vehicles from the new Opel Astra and Chevy Cruze to the Peugeot 308 and Mazda3 recording perfect five-star scores, indicating just how safe compact cars have become. And even the video of the Urban Cruiser’s three-star performance lacks the drama of earlier compact crash tests: a failure of side airbags and a weak performance in the new side pole crash caused the poor score. Most embarrassing of all, the Chevrolet Spark (neé Daewoo Matiz Creative) came in second to last, scoring four stars to the Urban Cruiser’s three.
Toyota’s PR has responded to the poor showing, telling What Car?:
In 2009, we received a five-star rating for all three new cars that were evaluated by Euro NCAP (iQ, Avensis and Prius).
We are therefore very surprised that the Urban Cruiser received only a three-star rating from Euro NCAP. As with any other Toyota vehicle, we had submitted the Urban Cruiser to rigorous in-house tests, which indicated that it would secure a five-star rating.
We are currently investigating the Euro NCAP result in detail, in order to understand why there is a difference between our Toyota assessment and Euro NCAP’s rating.
Together with other car makers, we are also discussing with Euro NCAP certain aspects of their evaluation methodology, which might also explain why the rating is lower than we expected.
The three-star rating for the Urban Cruiser has been triggered by the “pole side impact” test. During this assessment, the dummy head area deceleration slightly exceeded the demand value of Euro NCAP.
There is a difference of opinion between us and Euro NCAP on a technical matter, namely peak acceleration of the head area in the Pole Side Impact test.
Our in-house tests, which are designed to meet the highest safety requirements, indicated that the protection provided by the head curtain airbag would be in line with a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Once again, we remain fully convinced that Urban Cruiser is a safe car.
And compared to past performances in this class, the xD is a relatively safe car. It’s just less safe than… a 1.2 liter Korean minicar. Deal with it, Toyota.